As the situation with COVID-19 continues to unfold, the Wisconsin Indian Education Association (WIEA) board of directors have come to the difficult decision to postpone the 2020 conference "Indigenous STEAM: Science, Technology, Engineering, Art & Math" until April 2021.
WIEA president Brian Jackson says the health, safety and well-being of WIEA members, supporters, tribal nations in Wisconsin and general public remains the organization’s top priority.
“We deliberated for some time before coming to this decision as a board,” said Jackson. “We had to take into account first and foremost the safety of all involved,” continued Jackson.
Jackson also cited the many logistical issues in attempting to carry out this year’s conference as an additional factor in deciding to postpone until 2021.
“We felt there were and still are, too many unknowns that would affect our conference planning and timelines,” said Jackson. “This has been a difficult situation for all of us individually and collectively. This crisis is ongoing and with federal, state and tribal travel restrictions and stay-at-home mandates effectively extended through the end of April, we just don’t know when things will return to normal.”
Preliminary plans include holding the postponed conference at the same host location and venue as previously scheduled.
“The board agreed tentatively to keep Milwaukee as the host city, as well as Potawatomi Hotel & Casino as the host venue for the 2021 conference,” said Jackson.
The organization will offer full refunds of registration fees to individuals and organizations that paid in advance. In lieu of a full refund of this year’s conference registration fee, the option to pre-pay for the 2021 conference will also be extended to those who have already paid.
“If an individual or organization wishes to have their 2020 conference registration fees refunded, they have that option,” said Jackson. “Likewise, if they wish for us to hold their registration fees in advance for next year’s conference, they have the option to pre-pay for the 2021 conference.”
In either case, WIEA will contact each registrant directly to determine which course of action best suits them.
“We apologize for any inconvenience this may have caused our participants,” said Jackson. “We look forward to seeing everyone at our 2021 conference and thank all who have supported WIEA.”
WIEA kindly asks conference registrants to remain patient while the organization works through the refund process. Refunds may take between four to six weeks to be issued.